Saracens’ Max Malins explains how to mix up your restarts


Max Malins: How to vary kick-offs

Max Malins, the Saracens fly-half/full-back who is going on loan to Bristol for the 2020-21 season, talks through the different options teams can have at restarts…


“We have about ten areas on the pitch we kick to at Saracens. We look at opposition set-ups and how they receive kick-offs to see where weaknesses are.

“It also depends on the match situation: if you’re however many points up, you want to kick deep to their 22; if you’re down, you go short to get the ball back and attack.”


“Good set-piece teams often deliberately go long because they know the opposition are likely to kick it out and you get a lineout around ten metres or halfway.

“If you know a team doesn’t kick much off ten, put a kick down the middle around the 22. Their nine won’t want to box-kick from the middle of pitch, so they’ll have to work towards the edge to kick. That’s two or three phases for you to disrupt play.”


“We probably do more lower, contestable kicks towards either touchline. When you go low and flat, the opposition often don’t have time to get their lifting pod in place and in a one-on-one contest I’d back our winger.

“If the opposition have a man in the middle with no one around him – maybe they’ve left the hooker there – we would look to attack that area. We’d bring one of the backs closer to the ten to chase the ball and would expect them to win the ball in the air against a front-row.”



“Patience is a big thing when it comes to getting height on kicks. On hard ground it’s easier because you want to allow the ball to bounce higher.

“Wait and be patient with your leg swing so you connect with the ball higher, then you’ll get more height on the kick and give the chaser more time to get the ball or hit man and ball.”

This article originally appeared in the May 2020 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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